Here comes the bride . . .  Where to get married in the bluegrass



Summer is wedding season in the bluegrass. The Bluegrass offers many beautiful churches, parks, and venues for your special day. But where do you start to look before you take the big leap? If you want to show off Lexington’s beautiful pastoral countryside and historic charm to your guests, there’s no shortage of options.

Lexington wedding planner Deanna Jones Dillenger offers brides a few pointers when looking for the venue: “Most importantly is you want your venue to fit the number of guests that you plan to have, and it needs to be in your budget.” Other things to notice when researching and planning, Dillenger commentsIs the parking lot lit and adequate?  Can guests find it easily with GPS?”

The Apiary 218 Jefferson St, Lexington

On Jefferson Street, just off of downtown Lexington, there’s a buzz at The Apiary where weddings and events happen weekly inside and out, along with other lifestyle events. The original site burned down in 2008 and in 2011 Chef Owner Cooper Vaughn created an epg06_HJ_JUNE 2016vent space with garden design guru Jon Carloftis, EOP Architects, and Matthew Carter Designs that encompasses Kentucky Proud — from the Hamburg Place farm pavers that they used for the flooring to the locally sourced award-winning dishes. Vaughn himself trained at Le Cordon Bleu, earned a degree in Hotel Restaurant Management from Transylvania and worked at world renowned Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee. The space itself measures over 15,000 square feet with 8,000 square feet to accommodate up to 250 seated.


The Barr House 1200 Cypress St, Paris, KY 859-475-0212

In Bourbon County sits the historic Barr House. Built in 1812 as a private residence for William Penn’s grandson, William Penn III, today the historic home and grounds can be rented for weddings, parties, luncheons, and other special events. Owner Robert Barr restored the property in honor of his late mother, Carolyn Barr. She opened the home to the public in the 60s, and her recipes are still on the menu for many of the special events hosted there. Robert took over the inn in 2011 after she passed. He renovated the Inn itself in 2012 and added the cottage next door to accommodate full guest weekends. “People want to stay in one place for the weekend and that’s important to them” he says. He finds the heart of the house in the history of the home, as well as his mother’s gift of hospitality instilled in Barr from a young age.


The Cardome Center 800 Cincinnati Road Georgetown, KY

The Cardome Center in Scott County also features a beautiful historic site once owned by Kentucky Federal Governor James F. Robinson during the Civil War. He built the elegant mansion that burned down in 1986. Cardome Center features several different buildings for weddings—the Black Barn, the Chapel Hall, the Academy Theatre, plus other meeting rooms and outdoor areas for a wedding like no other. 2014 bride Maisie Insko chose the Chapel Hall and fell in love with the location, the staff and the service almost as much as her husband to be:  “We had our reception in the same room our ceremony was in; they were able to do all of that in about 45 minutes while our guests enjoyed cocktail hour in a different part of the building.”


pg07_HJ_JUNE 2016Yuko-En on the Elkhorn 800 Cincinnati Road, Georgetown, KY

For an outdoor wedding with a Japanese setting, the Yuko-En on the Elkhorn Japan Friendship  Garden adjacent to the Cardome Center provides a tranquil space in a natural setting complete with bridge, waterfalls, a koi pond, plus tea house and Villa for rental.


Jordan Hill Farm 722 Walker Parke Rd, Richmond, KY

In the Appalachian foothills of Madison County sits Jordan Hill Farm. Once a private home, owner Joyce Green said “we did not need to keep this beautiful place all to ourselves. We wanted to share with others so they could also enjoy the countryside of Kentucky.”  The venue itself includes both indoor and outdoor space to accommodate up to 48 inside to 80 outside., with up to 12 guests to stay overnight during festivities. At the helm of JHF kitchen is French -educated Tim Engle who specializes in Fresh Bluegrass cuisine. One unique aspect of Jordan Hill Farm is the terrain on the 85 acre property—meadows lead to ponds, creeks and forests. Green enjoys having weddings on Jordan Hill Farm as “each wedding brings so many special memories.  Making dreams reality and preparing for that special day with each bride and groom is a special experience that makes each a cherished part of Jordan Hill Farm.”


The Polo Barn at Saxony Farm  469 Browns Mill Road

Nestled among the horse farms of Scott county sits the Polo Barn at Saxony Farm. Rosie and Broussard Hundley created an events venue on their working horse farm with something for everyone—including a Man Cave! Also on the property, weddings take place at the large and small Polo Barns, cottage for set up, not to mention outdoor spaces that can be tented. Rosie Hundley comments “we just host one wedding per weekend, so the couple has from Thursday lunch time to set-up through to Monday. That way they are not rushed, and can really enjoy their whole wedding weekend to the utmost. From set-up to rehearsal dinner and getting ready and partying the night away even to a Sunday brunch with family and friends.”

Lastly, when you find that perfect venue for your wedding, Deanna Jones Dillinger says: “Read the contract fully. If you have been promised something that is not spelled out in the contract, you should write it in and have the venue initial it. To cover yourself, get it in writing before putting your deposit down and signing the contract.

This article also appears on pages 6-7 of the June 2016 printed edition of the Hamburg Journal. 

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